RICHLAND, Wash. – A national bird conservation group is asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collect more information before it issues a permit for wind farms to kill golden eagles. Correspondent Courtney Flatt has more.
Central Oregon’s West Butte Wind Project has applied for the nation’s first golden eagle “take permit.” That would allow the wind farm to legally kill, harass or disturb golden eagles. Conservationists generally like the idea because it would help monitor golden eagle deaths at wind farms.
But the American Bird Conservancy says the West Butte take permit application simply doesn’t have enough data. Kelly Fuller is the group’s wind campaign coordinator.
Fuller: “This is not one of those situations where we look at it and go, ‘Absolutely not. Under no circumstances. No way. Never.’ It’s just, Fish and Wildlife didn’t meet the standards that it set. This is the first permit. It really needs to meet the standards because it’s going to set the bar for everybody else in the country.”
Fuller says the American Bird Conservancy would like to know how many golden eagles nest in Oregon and whether the population is declining. The raptors are shielded by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Fuller says there is also a potential for bald eagle and migrating songbird deaths at West Butte, which are not planned for in the “take permit.”
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